I have used Del Ton rifles over the years and found they have good build quality, good reliability, and more than acceptable accuracy. When I was looking for a quality AR-10-type rifle in .308 Winchester, I looked to the DTI rifle. While I was eager to jump into the .308 AR, I was well aware of the lack of standardization with the rifle.
The AR-15 is most often MIL-SPEC and interchangeable with other rifles, not so with the AR-10. However, the Del Ton DTI is standardized with Magpul magazines. The DTI rifle will accept buffer tubes, triggers, grips, and stocks that are designed for the AR-15. As for the .308 Winchester cartridge, it has are many advantages over the .223 Remington. A rifle with greater power, but the same superb handling, would be attractive.
I am familiar with the M1A rifle and own several. I wished to see how the AR-10 compared. The DTI is relatively compact and makes for a great hunting rifle. The fast handling and excellent human engineering also make for a good tactical rifle.
The DTI .308 is a carbine-length rifle with a 16-inch barrel and the standard AR-type gas impingement operating mechanism. The barrel features a 1 in 10-inch twist, which seems ideal for handling a wide spectrum of bullet weights. The rifle features a credible flash suppressor, and the receiver is a flat top type.
An A2-type front sight is standard. The barrel is free floated. I especially like the handguard. Rather than going with a bulky type, the DTI rifle uses a circular aluminum handguard with a nicely knurled texture that makes for good abrasion and adhesion.
The stock, handguard, grip, and operating rod are all MIL-SPEC and will be familiar to those using the AR-15 rifle. They are basic but easily upgraded. The bolt is manufactured from quality steel and properly heat-treated. The bolt is well finished, and the carrier keys are properly staked in place. There are quite a few aftermarket AR-15 triggers that will fit the DTI rifle easily.
I mention this because the trigger, as issued, breaks 5.5 pounds. There was a bit of take up. While I was able to manage good results with the rifle, I feel that a superior trigger would provide even better results. The rifle broke the scales at just under eight pounds. Recoil was heavier than the 5.56mm rifle. The DTI has more felt recoil than the Springfield M1A, but then, it is a lighter rifle.
I mounted the TruGlo Eminus scope for this evaluation. After the initial outing, I see no reason to change the scope. The Eminus (Eminus means from a distance) features an illuminated TacPlex reticle and improved accuracy without unsure hold over. The rifle features 3×9 magnification and a 42mm objective lens.
Ammunition selection wasn’t difficult. I had on hand a good stash of handloads, some put up for economy and some carefully developed as tack drivers in other rifles. Most used the Hornady 168-grain A Max bullet, a proven accurate and reliable combination. Varget, IMR 3031 and H4895 powders are among the mainstays I have used. I began initial firing at the 25-yard line to sight the Eminus scope properly.
Getting the scope two inches high and dead on horizontally was accomplished with a minimum of rounds expended. I moved to the 100-yard line and sighted the rifle properly for my preferred zero with the bullet impacting 1.5 inches above the point of aim. In firing a number of loads the rifle demonstrated good accuracy.
Once I was sighted in, I fired at small targets on the berm such as plastic bottles and even small sticks and dirt clods. Firing at targets at known and unknown ranges from a standing, braced firing position gives the shooter more meaningful practice than firing from the benchrest. Results were good, very good in fact, and I fired several magazines of ammunition. Setting the rifle aside to cool, I loaded the magazines with factory ammunition to test absolute accuracy.
I fired several three-shot groups with the Hornady Black loads. Newly introduced, they are quite accurate. This is a combination that has given excellent results in other .308 Winchester rifles. I took my time, carefully lining the sights and pressing the trigger straight to the rear. This type of shooting has no correlation to field shooting, but it is a good test of the rifle and ammunition.
I was rewarded with several groups of 1.25 inch, with a larger group when I did not properly attend to the basics. Switching to a hunting load, I loaded the Hornady 168-grain ELD. The relatively new bullet has earned a reputation for good accuracy and long-range potential. Firing from a solid bench rest firing position results were excellent, on the order of 1.2 to 1.5 inches on demand.
Firing off hand from a standing position is a harsh test of the rifleman. Firing the DTI wasn’t difficult due to the rifle’s excellent balance and human engineering. I feel that I am able to retain more of the rifle’s benchrest accuracy with the AR type than others when firing off hand. Personal experience may vary.
I was able to fire several 3- to 4-inch groups off hand with the DTI .308 at 100 yards. Some were larger. The accuracy potential of the rifle clearly is greater than the shooter’s skill. I like the DTI rifle very much. This is an accurate rifle, and perhaps, I will fire it more accurately with practice. As a hunting, tactical, or practical defense rifle, it is a good option at a fair price.
Do you have a favorite AR-10 rifle? What is your opinion of the .308 Win. versus .223 Rem. cartridges? Share your answers in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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